Trump and Putin talked for more than an hour this morning

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit. Photo by the Kremlin.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin for more than an hour this morning in what she characterized as a “very good discussion”. Among the topics they discussed were North Korea, China, Venezuela, nuclear agreements, trade, and the Mueller report.

Sanders was asked whether the two men spoke about the Mueller report and said they did “very, very briefly” and that the discussion was “essentially in the context that it’s over and there was no collusion, which I’m pretty sure both leaders were both very well aware of long before this call took place.”

Per CNN, the Kremlin says the phone call, the first contact between the two since the Mueller report was released, was initiated by President Trump and made no mention of the Mueller investigation. The Kremlin also said that Putin used the call to update Trump on the meeting between Putin and Kim Jong Un.

NBC News reports that Sanders did not answer questions on whether Trump and Putin discussed Russian election interference, which was mentioned at length and in great detail in the Mueller report, but took the opportunity to criticize the Obama administration. She said, “what I can tell you is that this administration, unlike the previous one, takes election meddling seriously. And we’re going to do everything that we can to prevent it from happening. That’s why we’ve taken a whole-of-government approach.”

President Trump later confirmed the call in a tweet in which he called the Mueller investigation into Russian election interference the “Russia Hoax”.

Why It Matters

One would think that a president who proclaims his innocence in the midst of a lengthy scandal involving his presidential campaign staff having dozens of contacts with Russian nationals would be wary of contacts with the president of Russia. After asking Russia to find Hillary’s emails while on the campaign trail, after Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian nationals, 13 Russian intelligence officers, and three Russian organizations for malign electoral activity, and after the public outcry after his performance at the Helsinki summit press conference one would think this president would be scrupulously careful of the optics of every interaction with Vladimir Putin.

Instead, this president gloats about his “no collusion” narrative with Vladimir Putin, who, according to the assessment of the US intelligence community knew about and approved of the efforts of his people to aid Donald Trump get elected.

The issue that Sanders would not speak of, except to ding Obama, who actually tried to warn the public of the Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election but was prevented by Mitch McConnell from doing so, was the one thing Trump should have spoken to Putin about. He should have forcefully told the president of Russia that interference in our democratic process will not be tolerated and that the full force of the US government will be used to stop his nefarious actions.

But this president called the president of the nation which has attacked us and undermined the confidence of the American people in the electoral system to gloat about his perception that he has been vindicated in the ongoing scandal of his involvement with Russia.

I am sure Putin enjoyed the conversation immensely and laughed as the Kremlin told the press that the Mueller report was not discussed, knowing President Trump’s need to vindicate himself at every opportunity would lead to him telling the world they actually did speak of it.

As this president trashes every norm and expectation that is contained in the office of the presidency, it is vital for us to remember that this behavior is not normal. It is dangerous for the US and the entire world. We must demand more from Trump and from the next president who will be tasked with representing us in the world.

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*Principle above party * Politically Homeless * Ex GOP * Tribalism is stupid* NeverTrump ≠ Pro Hillary. Anti-GOP ≠ Pro Dem. Disagreeing with you ≠ Liberal. Counter Social: @NoMorePlatosCave